Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 727: debated on Tuesday 7 February 2023

Written Statements

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Home Department

Computer Misuse Act 1990: Review

The Government are reviewing the Computer Misuse Act 1990 (CMA/the Act) and this statement provides an update on the progress of the review.

It is essential that the UK has the right legislative framework to allow us to tackle the harms posed to our citizens, businesses and Government services online. As part of this, we initiated a review of the CMA, and following a call for information on the CMA, we have been considering the proposals made in response. A number of proposals were put forward, both for changes to the Act itself, and for additional powers to allow law enforcement agencies to more effectively tackle the offences covered by the Act.

We will issue a formal consultation today to seek views on a number of proposals made during the consultation, including:

Considering the development of a new power to allow law enforcement agencies to take control of domains and internet protocol (IP) addresses where these are being used by criminals to support a wide range of criminality, including fraud and CMA offences.

Developing a power to require the preservation of computer data, ahead of its seizure, to prevent it being deleted where it may be needed for an investigation. While requests from law enforcement agencies for preservation are generally met, the UK does not have an explicit power to require such preservation, and having such a power would make the legal position clear.

Considering whether a power to take action against a person possessing or using data obtained by another person through a CMA offence, such as through accessing a computer system to obtain personal data, would be of benefit, subject to appropriate safeguards being in place. Currently, the CMA covers unauthorised access to computer, but the unauthorised taking or copying of data is not covered by the Theft Act so it is difficult to take action in these cases.

In addition, a number of other issues were raised during the call for information, relating to the levels of sentencing, statutory defences to the CMA offences, improvements to the ability to report vulnerabilities, and whether the UK has sufficient legislation to cover extra-territorial threats. As part of our work to improve the cybersecurity of the UK, we will work with a wide range of stakeholders with a policy interest in these areas, to ensure that any proposals that we take forward will deliver enhanced protection of the UK in cyberspace.

A copy of this consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and published on gov.uk.

[HCWS546]

Prime Minister

Government Department Reorganisation

To ensure the whole of Government are geared up to deliver for the British people, with the approval of His Majesty the King, I have today created four new Departments.

The changes will ensure the right skills and teams are focused on my five priorities: to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats.

A new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has been tasked with securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation. The move recognises the significant impact rising prices have had on households across the country as a result of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, and the need to secure more energy from domestic nuclear and renewable sources as we seize the opportunities of net zero.

A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy. Having a single Department focused on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical, appliable solutions to the challenges we face will help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.

A combined Department for Business and Trade will support growth by backing British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade.

A re-focused Department for Culture, Media and Sport will recognise the importance of these industries to our economy and build on the UK’s position as a global leader in the creative arts.

Finally, and as part of these changes, responsibility for national security and investment policy, and the associated teams, will move from what was the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to sit under the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Cabinet Office.

These machinery of Government changes will be included in main estimates 2023-24 in order to reallocate the relevant budgetary provision and other spending authority. The accounting officers in the transferring Departments will continue to have formal responsibility for the transferred functions up until the point at which the supply estimate and related legislation is approved. Ahead of this time responsibilities will be agreed in the usual way through the exchange of accounting officer letters.

An explanatory note providing detail on each of these changes has been placed in the Library of both Houses and published on gov.uk.

[HCWS547]